Q….I need help disciplining my 7-year-old daughter. I have tried time out, (doesn’t work) I’ve taken things away,( she doesn’t care) I’ve kept her from playing outside and more. She’s usually very sweet but refuses to clean her room or clean up her messes. She disregards anything I say like it’s nothing. How do I get a handle on this now? She used to be my little girl, now it seems like she could care less. Thanks, Dawn
A…Hey Dawn and thanks for the question! I have a 5 1/2 yr-old so sometimes I feel like I am going through the same thing! First of all, this is very common at this age so don’t beat yourself up! Is it just about cleaning her room and messes or is it other areas of her life like at school, trouble with peers, siblings or concentration? If the answer is yes, I would talk to her pediatrician right away, there might be something else going on that needs to be addressed.
If not, it is probably just a simple power struggle going on coupled with the fact that she just doesn’t want to do these tasks. Who wants to clean their room really, right? Here are a couple of tips to help persuade her into cleaning up her room and mess because bottom line, you are the parent, she needs to do what she is told.
- Help her out. She might just need a little help getting started. Don’t do it for her but help and encourage her. Show her where things should go and show her the ropes. When I go in my daughter’s room and give her little words of encouragement and stay on top of her, she is able to complete the task.
- Use task-orientated consequences- I know you said you tried taking things away but, I am sure she has a favorite toy or a game on the iPod. Take it away if she can’t do what she is asked to do or until she has finished cleaning her room. Having items like that is a privilege and somewhere along the way, she might of got that confused. There has got to be something that will work with her. Nothing works faster in my household then when we threathen to take away the Iphone, Ipad or TV.
- Set a good example- Are you keeping your room and other areas of the house clean and teaching her how important that is? Remember your daughter is watching everything you do so if you have not implemented this, do it today!
Keep us posted and good luck!